Have you ever watched a food commercial that made you immediately crave what they were advertising, even though you aren’t—or weren’t—hungry? That’s the wizardry of a food stylist! And you need one if you sell, bake, or cook a food product. As a Los Angeles food photographer, I thought I’d share a few tips on how food styling can improve your overall presentation and better reflect your brand.
What is a Food Stylist?
A food stylist is a creative professional who designs, prepares, and arranges food or props for presentation purposes. You often see the work of food stylists on restaurant menus, advertisements, cookbooks, and food displays. A food stylist doesn’t just make the plate or setup “look pretty”—although they do that, too. A prop or food stylist is educated and experienced in knowing which arrangements psychologically appeal to the audience. They’re able to use that knowledge and expertise to skillfully design arrangements that look fresh, flavorful, and tempting. So, a food stylist is a critical contributor in executing your marketing strategy.
Who Needs a Food Stylist?
Those who partner with food stylists include:
- Food & Drink Companies
- Restaurant Chains
- Food Magazines / Publications
- Cookbook Publishers
- Advertising Agencies
- Design Firms
Be sure to check out my recent client work for more examples and inspiration.
Food Styling & Photography
Food photography is much harder than it looks. You need more than the product and a good camera. Food styling is the key to drool-worthy shots. Here are a few more reasons you need to hire a food stylist for your next product photoshoot.
1. Food stylists understand the importance of food preparation.
If you are a chef or produce a food product of any kind, it can be hard to let someone else take the reins in your area of expertise. But hiring a food stylist doesn’t mean you have to let another person take over. A food stylist takes on the supporting role to help you achieve your vision. Most professional stylists have a brilliant grasp on both food preparation and aesthetic design. So whether you’re going for bold and savory, light and refreshing, or clean and organic, a food stylist can help you display your food product in a way that represents your brand and mission. They help your audience visually taste your delectable product.
2. Food stylists utilize special effects, optical “illusions,” and professional techniques.
It can be surprisingly difficult to make food look appetizing, especially long enough to last through an entire photoshoot. As you might guess, deflated buns, droopy produce, and melted desserts just don’t do it for people. Food stylists work some incredible magic to make your products and dishes look mouthwatering from beginning to end through creative styling techniques.
3. Food styling is an art.
A food stylist is equal parts foodie and artist. Professional food stylists are incredibly resourceful when it comes to creating photogenic masterpieces out of food. Along with eating utensils, you may see them pulling out paintbrushes, glue, wax, oil, art supplies, and even furniture polish! (So, as delectable as it looks, you may not actually want to eat it once the shoot is over).
4. Food stylists take every detail into account.
While you’re probably focused on the product or dish itself, a food stylist will elevate your vision while paying attention to the props, backdrop, textures, and lighting to create a certain mood and brand style. They consider every part of your brand when crafting the overall design so that the final image authentically conveys not just your tasty product but your signature style as well. A food stylist can provide that extra touch you’re looking for to make your products stand out.
Partner with a Los Angeles Food Stylist
Ready to present mouthwatering, eye-catching food products? I’d love to partner with you for your food photography needs with my crew of highly talented stylists. View my still life, food & drink, and stop-motion work to see if we would be a good fit. Then, connect with me to get started!
Lindsay is a Los Angeles-based food, product, and commercial photographer. She specializes in Still Product & Food Photography, Lifestyle & Portrait Photography, Stop Motion, and Food Styling. Connect with her HERE for product marketing!